Your journey to success during your peak season, whether it’s the traditional holidays or a specific period in your industry, starts with ensuring that your digital storefront’s infrastructure is up to the task. Your ecommerce website should be ready for peak season, regardless of what it looks like for you business.
Adobe has provided a guide for preparing for peak season performance. We call it “The Five Ps of Peak Performance” These recommendations are a minimal investment of time but should be high up on your priority list for your company so you can easily ramp up to your peak sales traffic.
To ensure you are prepared, we recommend you begin this work at least 3 months before your most important calendar dates. This overview can be used to help you talk with your partner (or systems integrator) about how they will prepare your site for peak season.
1. Predict your traffic and order volume
While wild guesses made based on intuition are fine at your local racetrack or casino, data-based planning should be the norm when planning for your company’s most important opportunity. These four key benchmarks can be easily accessed via Adobe Commerce Business Intelligence or MBI to help you make accurate predictions about peak season traffic that you will need to support.
- The traffic load of your site over the past six month on a daily or weekly basis
- Last year’s peak season was a busy time for your site.
- The percentage increase in peak season traffic last year compared to the six-month average before peak season.
- Year-over-year traffic growth rates between the last year’s and this years site traffic
After your team has gathered the data, you can first predict peak season. This is done by comparing last year’s calculated percentage of growth to your site’s traffic running daily and weekly. To validate the prediction made in the previous step, you can use the year-over year growth rate by comparing this percentage to the peak season numbers last year. Talk to your team about how to resolve differences if the numbers don’t agree. Plan for traffic volume at the higher numbers to resolve questions regarding large differences.
A second method to predict the resources required is to identify peak sales hours and examine the load they place on your infrastructure (such memory, CPU, disk space). To get a rough estimate of the resources needed to handle heavy peak traffic incidents, multiply these metrics by 3. Your site may need additional resources to handle peak demand if your resources cannot meet the tripled metrics.
Remember to consider how COVID-19 may have impacted your digital storefront, and whether you might see peak season traffic levels that are different from last year.
2. Use your resources to test the waters
To validate your site’s ability to handle the anticipated peak season traffic, load test your infrastructure using your resource model. Review Adobe’s recommendations for load testing Adobe Commerce sites is a good place to start this process.
This testing often exposes many deficiencies. You should have a process to document and communicate these failing points within your organization. This will allow you to create a common action plan. When working with an SI partner, ask them to share their findings with you.
3. Make sure you prepare your site according to the following steps
Increase server and/or database capacities
After you have done site load testing and identified areas that require additional capacity, it is time to plan how to address those needs. Flexible capacity may be required to meet peak periods. You might consider increasing your capacity if your site is used to a high level of load. This will allow you to meet peak season demands and also give your company more room to grow. You might think that web traffic and transactions will continue to increase since many consumer habits have changed in the wake of the pandemic.
You might also consider adding Web Nodes in order to meet the load test’s resource requirements. Adobe Commerce customers can request temporary server increases by requesting surge capacity as detailed in the Knowledge Base article. Contact your Adobe Customer Success Manager (CSM) if you are interested in a permanent increase in memory, disk size or CPU.
Use a content delivery network
A content delivery network (CDN) is another way to meet peak season performance requirements identified during load testing. A CDN powers your cache by creating a global cache network that stores your static media files, HTML and JS Style Sheets. This helps to reduce load and improve response time. There are many CDN options available, but Adobe Commerce users have access to the Quickly CDN.
Change your caching configuration
A better caching configuration can help you reduce the hits to your server and solve infrastructure issues. We recommend Full Page Caching as a great way of speeding up your Adobe Commerce website.
4. Be a good example of good habits
Optimize images to create a fast eCommerce website
Images are an essential part of the sales process. However, they can also be a negative if not managed properly due to slow load times which impact site performance. WebSafe 72-dpi images are recommended for merchants. More information can be found in our article Resizing Product Image.
Latest ece-tools package
To take full advantage of the new enhancements in our deployment tooling, ensure that your cloud environment is running the most recent ece_tools. Recent releases include improvements to the local development experience, faster deployment of static content, and self-service capabilities that enable merchants to be more productive. For more information, see the ECE-tools Release Notes.
Don’t let deployment get you down
Visitors should be able to shop without interruption during holiday season. However, you may need to make changes to your production environment. You can set up your project to ensure that there is no downtime for customers during deployments. You can use these steps to set up Adobe Commerce for Zero downtime deployments. This is one of the best ways to practice cloud infrastructure management. These best practices will ensure that your customers interact with live sites regardless of how they are deployed.
Backup your eCommerce website
To avoid a costly and time-consuming environment rollback, ensure you have proper backup management. Snapshots allow you to quickly back up and restore specific environments from any location at any time. This can be a time-saver and cost-saving tool that can help you save time and money in the event of unforeseen circumstances. Snapshots are quick to restore your Adobe Commerce environment because they are read-only files. For more information on creating and using Snapshots, please refer to the Adobe Commerce Developer Guide.
Track your performance
To keep an eye on site performance, it’s always a good idea for monitoring tools to be well-designed. There are many tools and processes available to monitor site performance. Make sure you choose one that is compatible with your company. Adobe Commerce customers that use the cloud infrastructure management system should take advantage of New Relic services to monitor site performance.
Customers can also take advantage of Observation to Adobe Commerce, an New Relic nerdlet. This application gives you a quick overview of your site’s performance and allows you to drill down to find out more about potential issues.
Stay in touch with your Adobe team
Always log in to Adobe Commerce and verify your contact information under Account Settings. Make sure your Adobe CSM contains information about key technical contacts for your company. Discuss your solution partner’s support plans for the holiday period. This will ensure that everyone is able to execute the plan in case of an unexpected event. These steps will help us alert the appropriate people within your organization to any security or technical problems that may arise.
5. Protect your site (and customer data)
Upgrade to Adobe Commerce
It’s important that Adobe Commerce merchants have the most up-to-date software as hackers get more sophisticated. This is especially true as we approach Peak Season. Bad actors know that busy businesses can be distracted and use the holiday noise to commit their biggest frauds. We recommend that you upgrade your website to Adobe Commerce before peak season.
Security patches enable businesses to stay current with security trends even if they don’t use the most recent version of Adobe Commerce. We recommend that security patches be installed as soon as they are available. Do not let them accumulate. You can access and apply patches with the Magento Quality Pack, to ensure your site is always up-to-date.
Use the Adobe Commerce Security Scan
The Security Scan Tool can be used to scan all Adobe Commerce websites, including Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), for known security threats and malware. This tool performs over 21,000 security checks and gives insight into the security status of your store. The tool can be used to automatically run security checks on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Security scan output provides guidance on best practices and lists all identified issues.